IAI: The Art Of Drawing The Sword by Darrell Max Craig
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 11 April 2013

IAI: The Art Of Drawing The Sword

Author: Darrell Max Craig
Artist: Mary Schultz and Mark Hunter

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

There is a certain poetic style to Japanese custom and culture which can seem very far removed from Western lifestyle and traditions. No different is the approach to studying Martial Arts which take on equal parts introspection and external technique.

With so much done with tremendous patience, respect and ritual, it goes without saying that something as serious as swordsmanship is held in the realms of the sacred and certainly has much of its teaching and practice associated around spirituality and ritual.

Darrell Max Craig shares his profound knowledge of Japanese swordsmanship as he covers all aspects of his craft from sword making, cleaning, drawing, training, sparring and even the Samurai suicide ritual of Seppuku. Craig explains everything not only in its method and technique but also in philosophy. These philosophies, which Craig stresses, are fundamental to the Japanese arts and are also what makes this book so interesting.

Through his own experiences and with the re-telling of parable like stories, Craig gets his enthusiasm and knowledge of Japanese Martial Arts culture across with much verve. There is no doubt he has given much time and care to his craft and though perhaps not the best writer, he does a great job of explaining the practice of Iaido.

If you have any interest in Japanese Swords, this is a great read for non-practitioners who want to know more about Japanese Swordsmanship. The book also includes many illustrations which demonstrate the techniques involved as Craig explains them.

For further reading on the philosophy of Bushido I'd recommend Hagakure.